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NFL owners win in court


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The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis has thrown out a judge's order lifting the NFL lockout, handing the league a key victory in a labor stoppage that has reached its 115th day.

The appellate court issued its decision Friday, even as the league and its locked-out players continue negotiations in New York intended to strike a new collective bargaining agreement and start the 2011 season on time. The first preseason game is scheduled for Aug. 7, less than a month away.

The appellate court ruled on an April 25 decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson, who put the lockout on hold after players argued they were suffering irreparable harm. The appeals court put that order on hold and its final decision said Nelson ignored federal law in reaching her decision.

The court's decision came while commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith started a second straight day of negotiations aimed toward resolving the lockout.

Owners and players are getting closer to reaching an agreement on the all-important revenue split, sources told ESPN. That's the good news, but there is bad news -- there's still a lot of work to be done on the new parameters of free agency, particularly whether teams will be allowed the right of first refusal on up to three of their free agents.

Such a scenario could affect some big names -- Joseph Addai, Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams -- with big money at stake. According to one participant who was on a player conference call Thursday night with Smith, Smith told the players: "We are close, but we've got work to do and I'm not signing this until you guys are taken care of."

Negotiations Thursday stretched on for more than 12 hours, deep into the evening. The plaintiffs in the Tom Brady vs. NFL case participated in the call to be update on the status of labor negotiations, particularly the framework for a new collective bargaining agreement.

All of the details in a new CBA have not been worked out, but the call was designed to give the plaintiffs a clear idea of where the agreement is headed so that they can make an informed decision about the anti-trust lawsuit which must be settled in federal court prior to the CBA taking effect, a league source told ESPN. An absolute core issue in the discussions between owners and players is the jurisdictional oversight of any agreement. As The New York Times reported Friday, the players want a class-action settlement, which would provide them with the same jurisdictional oversight of this agreement as was the case in the post-1993 Reggie White case.

Even with an arbitration system, final appeals of grievances and disputes went to Judge David Doty in Minneapolis. In this situation, the players want those issues decided by Judge Susan Nelson, who has the current antitrust case.

The issue will be a signficant hurdle, based on what has been stated by both sides in the negotiations. Owners want a strict arbitration system with no federal court oversight.

Some training camps are set to open in less than three weeks. The preseason begins with the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions and Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 7 between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears.

Information from ESPN national correspondent Sal Paolantonio, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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The 8th circuit is filled with George W Bush appointed, anti worker judges. No shock here.

Meh- that doesnt really relate in this instance imo.

I'm anti public union but then again I'm also pro player here, which are completely unrelatable imo.

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The title of this thread should be amended. The judges previously stated that they would give a ruling that would not benefit either side. On the surface it looks like the owners won but the last two pages of the ruling state that a lockout will open litigation for players who are not under contract. So the owners could keep the lockout but they will open pandora's box to anti-trust

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I'm pro-player but at this point it looks to me like the owners and players are sitting down and hammering out the deal.

Does it really matter what courts decide at this point?


They aren't going to get this close and not get a deal done. Even the prevailing party still loses if games are missed.

Certainly far from impossible, but I'd be surprised if it didn't get hammered out "on time" -- they just want to go to the wire so each side can comfortably say they exhausted all available options and don't have to play what might have been if they'd only held out for another month or so. In the end, no matter which side ends up with the longer end of the stick, they all realize that a slightly worse deal is better than no deal. The owners can better-afford missed games (or a missed season) but no matter how rich they are none of them like losing money.

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